1. Keep your face clean. Whether or not you have acne, it's important to wash your face daily to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and excess oil from the skin surface. Use warm, not hot, water and a mild facial cleanser. Using a harsh soap (like deodorant body soap) can injure the already inflamed skin and cause more irritation.
Avoid scrubbing your skin harshly with a washcloth, exfoliating glove, or loofah (a coarse-textured sponge). Gently wash it with your clean hands or a very soft cloth. Always rinse well, and then dry your face with a clean towel. (Toss the towel in the laundry hamper, as dirty towels spread bacteria.)
2. Moisturize. Many topical acne products contain ingredients that dry the skin, so always use a moisturizer that minimizes dryness and skin peeling. A gel-based moisturizer usually works well for oily skin. If you have dry skin, try a moisturizing cream or lotion. Combination skin may need two products (cream or lotion for the dry section; a gel for the oily part). Always hydrate your skin with water before you moisturize it.
3. Try an over-the-counter acne product.Topical (those applied to the skin) acne products may contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial agent with a drying effect, or salicylic acid, an agent that sloughs off skin and gets rid of bacteria. Start with a small amount at first. Then increase or decrease the amount and how often you apply it, depending on how much peeling or drying you have. Use these ointments with caution if you have sensitive skin. Benzoyl peroxide can cause redness and scaling of the skin. It can also bleach your clothes, towel, and hair.
4. Use makeup sparingly. During a breakout, try to avoid wearing foundation, powder, or blush. If you do wear makeup, wash it off at the end of the day. If possible, select oil-free cosmetics without added dyes and chemicals. Water-based cosmetics are available. Read the ingredients list on the product label before buying.
5. Watch what you put on your hair. Avoid using fragrances, oils, and harsh chemicals on your hair. These ingredients can drip on the face, blocking the skin pores and irritating the skin. Stick to a gentle shampoo and conditioner. Oily hair can add to the oil on your face, so wash hair often, especially during a pimple outbreak. If your hair is long, keep it pulled off your face.
6. Keep your hands off your face. Avoid touching your face or propping your cheek or chin on your hands. Not only can you spread bacteria, you can also irritate the already inflamed facial skin. Never pick or pop pimples with your fingers, as it can result in infection and scarring.